Budget deal tricky to reach in final days of lawmakers' work
BATON ROUGE - Now that the House and Senate have passed strikingly different packages of budget-balancing plans, negotiations move behind closed doors as legislative leaders try to strike a deal.
The biggest stumbling block isn't necessarily the proposed spending plans or tax hikes.
One of the largest disputes is whether lawmakers will agree to Gov. Bobby Jindal's push to create a tax break that doesn't lessen anyone's taxes, but that on paper can be used to protect the Republican governor's no-tax pledge.
The Senate has been willing to go along with the paper trick. But the House has balked.
Critics call it a budget gimmick aimed solely at protecting Jindal's presidential ambitions. Supporters say they need the maneuver to escape a Jindal veto of their budget financing plans.
The legislative session ends Thursday.
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